Potting Meat is a “if everything else fails” method.
Potting meat is an ancient food storage technique that worked for thousands of years.
Unfortunately, the USDA recommends against this process because of the potential for botulism.
Personally, I would rather pressure can meat – it is a much safer, however crocking meat is still used as a culinary practice still used in France.
Potting (also known as crocking) meat is a process where meat is fully cooked and then placed in a sterile ceramic container and then covered with melted fat.
When the fat solidifies, the crock is covered and stored in a cool and dry location.
The idea is that the cooking destroys any bacteria in the meat and the fat covering seals the meat so that no new contamination can occur.
This is similar in mechanism to canning, except that the fat can insulate and botulism spores that were not destroyed – thereby locking them in the perfect conditions to grow.
- Meat (I used pork chops – which are perfect for crocking, but sausage, or bacon also work well)
- Fat (amount depends on the size of the crock and the amount of the meat, but I used a medium sized container of Manteca (pork fat).
- Ceramic Crock
- Thoroughly clean a ceramic crock with very hot soapy water. Items cannot be sterile until they are clean.
- Sterilize by pouring boiling water into the crock. Hold the hot water in the crock until just before filling with meat.
- While water is boiling, melt some fat in a clean pot so you have enough grease to cover all the meat completely
- Completely cook meat until the internal temperature to be above 250ºF.
- Empty the water from the crock and wipe the crock dry with a clean towel.
- Place hot grease in the bottom of the crock so that the bottom of the crock is covered.
- Place a layer of cooked meat into the crock.
- Cover with hot grease.
- Add another layer of meat and repeat adding hot grease.
- When the crock is full or you run out of meat, cover the meat with at least 2 to 3 inches of hot grease.
- Cover the crock with a plate or a cloth. Store the crock in a cool, dry place.
- When you want to eat your pork chops, remove the meat carefully. Place in a frying pan and re-fry and heat thoroughly. You want the internal temperature of the meat to reach at least 250ºF again.
I believe that crocked meat is superior in flavor and taste to canned sausage patties or links, but with all things stored – you must trust your nose and other senses when cooking stored food. If anything seems off, discard the food.